Lea Michele Is Releasing Her First Christmas Album With The Help Of Some Stellar Friends

Credit: Yu Tsai

Christmas is set to be a whole lot Glee-ful this year with a new Christmas album to pop into your holiday playlists. Having already contributed to the Christmas spirit with the three Glee Christmas albums, Lea Michele is treating her fans to her first-ever Christmas album… and it’s out in plenty of time for the holidays.

Inspired by her years growing up in New York City, Christmas in The City invites fans to share with Michele what she loves most about the most wonderful time of the year. “It was always my dream to make a Christmas record,” Michele told PEOPLE. “Christmas is so special to me. It’s such an important time of year for me and my family that I have so many incredible memories from.”

And this year, her first Christmas with husband Zandy Reich, will be another memorable one. “I just got married, and it’s a very happy time in my life with my family right now,” adds Michele. “So making this album and releasing it at this time in my life just made so much sense.”

Christmas in the City’s tracklist includes: “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year,” “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas,” “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree,” “Silent Night,” “Silver Bells,” “O Holy Night,” and “Do You Want to Build a Snowman?” from Frozen. And they are all very personal to Michele, her “most favourite Christmas songs… the songs I always listen to on Christmas.” However, her choice of the first song that just had to be on the album may surprise some. Not “Silent Night”, not “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas”, not “O Holy Night”, but “Silver Bells”.

““Silver Bells” was my favorite Christmas song, because I love the lyrics, ‘It’s Christmas time in the city.’ That really became the jumping off point for this album, Christmas in The City, because I grew up in New York, and it’s such a beautiful time of year.”

While largely a solo album, Michele has brought some friends along for a tune or two. Earlier in the week, she teased that there were two of her former Glee costars that would appear on the album, so few were surprised to see the duets with her best friend Jonathan Groff (Jesse) and Darren Criss (Blaine).

Groff joins her for “I’ll Be Home for Christmas” and revealed a little of why she chose that song for the pair to do. “Jonathan is my best friend in the entire world, and the song we’re singing on the record, “I’ll Be Home for Christmas,” we’ve been singing together for over 10 years,” Michele says. “We would often have to do Christmas benefits and stuff like that in New York so that song in particular has very special meaning to us.”

And the duet with Criss, they will be reuniting again for a version of “White Christmas”. “Darren and I are dear friends so it was only natural that I would have him come on the record with me,” she said.

“My third very special guest is the incredible Cynthia Erivo, and if you don’t know Cynthia, you’re going to know her soon. She is incredible,” Michele continued. Erivo lends her voice to “Angels We Have Heard on High” (my personal favourite carol).

In addition to the covers, Michele has also penned an original song included on the album, “Christmas in New York”. “I wrote this song as my real love letter,” she says. “It’s the anthem of the album, and it just highlights all of the special things New York has to offer. It paints this beautiful picture of New York, but it also is really about what it means to be with your family and friends and engaged in that holiday spirit.”

The album also has another very special Glee connection: the producers. Michele is once again reunited with her former Glee producers, Adam and Alex Anders. “If you don’t know the Anders brothers, they did every single one of the over 800 songs we did on Glee,” she says. “It was very important to me that we reunited for this record. I wanted to bring back that sound from Glee — that very vibrant and bright and powerful sound that we created.”

It sounds like this album is definitely one for the Gleeks. But there’s even more Christmas goodies coming from Michele. In addition to the album, she is also starring in the ABC Christmas movie Same Time, Next Christmas which just wrapped shooting in Hawaii, so probably a Christmas more that the ones I know here in Australia rather than the snowy, white NYC ones the album will conjure up.

Christmas in The City is available for preorder tomorrow, September 20 and is released on October 25. I’d also keep an eye on Michele’s socials over the weekend as she’s been teasing the release of a single from the album.

Clare Sidoti
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